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Readers React: Jimmy Carter was a deregulator, but Trump is no Jimmy Carter

President Carter at a meeting with New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, at the White House in 1977.
President Carter at a meeting with New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, at the White House in 1977.
(Charles Bennett / Associated Press)

To the editor: Matt Welch fails to make the crucial distinction between unnecessary regulations that stifle competition, and necessary regulations that are meant to protect the safety and well-being of the public. (“Democrats these days hate deregulation, but once upon a time they loved it,” Opinion, Feb. 8)

The crooks and the bad guys of the business world won’t regulate themselves. They’ll abuse your privacy (nonstop robocalls on your phone), endanger your personal information (the Equifax data breach), pollute the environment (Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal), cut corners on safety (the PG&E gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif.), and they’ll wreck our economy (the subprime mortgage crisis, a major cause of the Great Recession).

President Trump wants to wipe out as many regulations as possible while falsely claiming he is a populist. Real populists support regulation intended to protect the public from corporate abuse.

Michael Asher, Valley Village

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To the editor: Welch mentions the transportation regulatory reform hearings chaired by the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. I participated in those hearings as an industry representative.

The hearings brought in manufacturers, retailers and business people from small towns and rural areas to determine what would result if they had no or limited air, rail and truck service. Most said it would greatly affect their communities and would likely result in higher prices and business closures.

We issued a final report that was sent to Congress. I doubt if it was read by anyone, as Congress went about deregulating the entire transportation industry. The ensuing chaos still lives with us today.

Sanford Forman, Torrance

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To the editor: Welch has a selective memory.

While it’s true that President Carter, a small farm owner from the South, had a natural aversion to the over-regulation of business, he was a fierce advocate of regulations that protected the health and safety of individuals as well as the environment.

Remember the solar panels on the White House roof? President Reagan, who favored market solutions rather than regulation, quickly removed the panels and killed Carter’s alternative energy initiatives, which were set back decades.

Deciding what and how much to regulate is always subject to intense debate among competing interests. It is a critical function of government to find the right balance. This takes deliberation and a willingness to compromise.

Good luck with that.

Michael Gitter, Pacific Palisades

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